Florescent lighting that makes everyone take on a yellowish-green glow, succeeding in devolving even the most attractive person to some amphibious biped.
"Walls" that keep nothing and no one out, designed to somehow provide the illusion of privacy while wandering eyes glance over your shoulder to encourage productivity and stamp out idleness.
Gratuitous chatter about spouses, children, pets, home improvement projects, workout habits (or lack thereof) that take on a history and an expectation for followup whether you're interested or not.
Emails requesting that I, rather than my supervisor, email some ubiquitous third party to ask them a question or schedule a meeting without any knowledge on my part that might allow me to answer the inevitable questions in their response, propelling me into a never-ending cycle of inefficient communication.
Meetings upon meetings about meetings for meetings with meetings sans meaning. Relentless rumormills and namecalling and back stabbing.
Unshakable fear that someone will find out just how little I actually accomplish on a given day and kick me to the curb, leading to my untimely demise as a young urban professional.
My career as a cube dweller began during my summer vacation from high school in 1994, shredding thousands upon thousands of pages of sensitive materials for hours until the smell of overheating metal and singed paper became so strong that I had to embark on the first of what would become many coffee breaks, then cut with powdered cocoa mix. The director of the English department had a plastic hyena on her desk with a motion detector which she set off not less than 3 times per hour, filling the office with robotic animal giggles that made all the 9-to-5ers' eyes roll into the backs of their heads, which was completetly contagious. Since then I've worked for or with people who: stare freely and incessantly at their body part of choice; pick things out of their personal body part of choice, occasionally with the intent of consuming whatever it is they've removed; become aggravated and confrontational at 2 minutes of tardiness or inactivity; edit "St. Paul" to read "Saint Paul" just for the sake of exercising authority; painstakingly ignore personal space boundaries to the point that they could sit in my lap and I wouldn't be any more uncomfortable, etc., etc. I've remained largely unaffected by this insanity by seeking out kindred spirits...observing possible allies carefully, tentatively stepping outside the boundaries of normal office banter and awaiting a response that gives any indication of solidarity. We are an underground species, meeting cautiously over forbidden emails and running unwarranted office errands in packs whenever we can, developing professional camouflage to make us look and sound like the others so as not to arouse suspicion, exchanging glances quickly with stoic expressions whenever we can.
I fear my assimilation to the other side. I talk to things. Machines. I said I'd never do that. Sometimes, the others make sense to me. It's like they've trapped me in the web of methodical, cost-effective business logic. They've created a mirage of upward mobility and appreciation for my contributions, and sometimes I buy it.
It is therefore time to escape, before its too late. Transfer pods. Seek out and learn from a new gaggle of converts in an effort to strengthen my resilence against the powers-that-be.